When a package is small, determining the shipping weight is just a matter of putting it on a scale. It’s not so simple when larger consignments must be shipped using crates. Using a scale may not be feasible due to the sheer size or weight of the container. In addition, the dimensions of a crate may affect the method shippers require for calculating shipping weight.
Acutal Shipping Weight
Shipping weight includes the weight of the crate or container. If a packed crate is too heavy to weigh on a scale, weigh the contents separately. Add the results to the weight of the crate to arrive at the actual weight. Crate weights are usually available from the crate manufacturer.
Dimensional Shipping Weight
Some shippers factor in the dimensions of crates. If this is the case, you must calculate a dimensional weight. If the dimensional weight is greater than the actual weight, use the dimensional weight. Shippers have different dimensional weight formulas. For example, the formula FedEx uses is height times width times length measured in centimeters and divided by 5,000 to find the dimensional weight in kilograms. Using this formula, a crate measuring 100 cm by 100 cm by 100 cm has a dimensional weight of 200 kg. If this is more than the actual weight, the shipping weight is still 200 kg. Use actual weight only when it is more than the dimensional weight.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, William Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about small business, finance and economics issues for publishers like Chron Small Business and Bizfluent.com. Adkins holds master's degrees in history of business and labor and in sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.